Anna Lunoe is killing it. It has been 18 months since the Sydneysider relocated to the US and in that time she’s proved herself as a key artist to watch in the realms of global dance music.
On the phone from Las Vegas – which she casually mentions she has “only played about four times” – Lunoe fills me in on the decision to swap Tim Tams for Twinkies and make the massive move Stateside. “I really did go for it in Australia for a long time and toured constantly,” she explains. “I felt like I played every festival and every club a million times. I just wanted to keep moving forward and I knew there was more to achieve.”
Lunoe has been touring nonstop in 2013, working with some major industry players and pumping out tunes with that signature Lunoe house flair. “It is an exciting time here for dance music, people are really getting behind it,” she says of the nation she now calls home. “It is such a big country and there are a lot of opportunities.”
One of those opportunities was a recent national US support slot with Canadian hip hop/R&B wunderkind The Weeknd, which saw Lunoe delve back to her roots to bring together a versatile but relevant set. After all her achievements in the dance world, it can be easy to forget that Lunoe started out as a part of Sydney DJ group Hoops alongside Nina Las Vegas and Bad Ezzy. Now her new single, ‘Breathe’, is out via cult label Fool’s Gold (headed up by ex-Kanye West DJ and one half of Duck Sauce, A-Trak).
As with many of her releases, Lunoe uses her own vocals in the mix on ‘Breathe’. I ask if there is a possibility of seeing her jump on the mic to bust it out live during a set. “It’s something I’d like to do,” she says. “I started singing in a band years ago. It never went anywhere, but that’s something I thought would always happen.”
Mainstream audiences would probably be most familiar with Lunoe’s vocals from ‘I Met You’, her 2012 collaboration with Flume that’s just notched up over a million views on YouTube. “Everyone’s talking about Australian music,” she says. “Every time I do an interview they’re like, ‘Tell me about this Australian sound! What is going on down there?’ We’ve totally got a presence here.” Jokingly referring to the phenomenon as “the Flume thing”, Lunoe admits, “It does have a kind of sound to it. I think that by and large, the music that comes out of Australia has positive, festival vibes because that’s what gets popular in Australia.”
Unfortunately, Lunoe is a rare breed in that she is one of few female producers receiving recognition for her work. “It’s a tough industry for women at the moment,” she agrees. “People want to perceive women as being really sexy and attractive … So, everyone just uses naked or completely objectified women in their videos. All their artwork is just butts and tits and that is how women are being perceived by the mass media.”
To quote Lily Allen, “It’s hard out here for a bitch”. Lunoe’s solution? To stop talking about this ‘issue’ and just start promoting female artists in the same capacity as their male counterparts. “If you’re a female DJ you’re instantly compared to every other female DJ, which is not really fair… Basically I just wanna be treated like a dude! At the same time, I know a lot of guy DJs who feel like girl DJs get an easy run, so it’s totally a huge, weird problem.”
BY CLAIRE KNIGHT
Anna Lunoe plays The Falls Music & Arts Festival with Vampire Weekend, James Vincent McMorrow, Flight Facilities, Grizzly Bear, MGMT, The Preatures, Neil Finn and more at Byron Bay, Marion Bay and Lorne on Saturday December 28 – Friday January 3.
She’ll also play Cakes in Sydney on Saturday January 4, and her single ‘Breathe’ is out now.